To change or not to change?

I’ll just say this right out- I dont really like my pizza. Dont get me wrong, its not bad, I just think it could be so much better. I am a franchise, but its not structured, no contract or anything. The “big guy” is very stuck in his ways and it works well for him. His place easily doubles my sales but he is in a different area and has had same customers for twenty years. Right now I am estimating 5,000 wk. In the summer it goes up a little but I know my store could easily handle triple that volume. Now, when I say my weekly sales, I have pizza, subs, salads, app., and dinners. My total pizza sales are low I think, and the profits are not there with our subs. I have a great restaurant, awesome subs and food. I do have many regular customers that order only pizza, but I think if the pizza was better I would have a much better business overall. In my town there is pizza hut, little ceasars, bellacinos, and 3 other indys all within 2 miles of me, I know there is business out there to be taken but it seems like no matter how many specials or doorhanging pizza sales still stay the same. Worst yet the newest indy just opened in Dec. and I think he is taken alot of my business. (Moved in across from my old location) Should I try to change my pizza recipe to get other customers, or stay the same to keep the ones I have? Just a side note, if I wasnt the owner and I was at home, I would order subs from me too, but pizza from somewhere else. I am using their recipe but I am ashamed to say I just never really liked it.

Sorry that was me forgot to log on

Really the only thing I can think of is…why not change it??? I mean, who wants to stay at a constant? You want to make more money right? You want to wow your customers I assume, soooo…You are solid on your subs, so leave em, maybe making a change with your pizza’s will give you a spark too, give you some excitement in your menu, something to blow your horn about to your customers, etc…
Thats just my thoughts…anyone else?

I think my dough is great, my sauce has something in it I dont like. Cant figure out what. Thinking of starting from scratch on that one. The cheese I use right now is low moisture part skim. Would just switching cheese be that big of a difference? I think sauce makes a pizza more than cheese. Just my opinion though. If anybody had to start from scratch and do something different with their sauce, what would or wouldnt you do?

change it
what can it hurt,your pizza sales???

Try mixing some whole milk Mozz with your part skim. It’ll add a bit a flavor. We mix 1/3 whole milk to 2/3 part skim. Any more whole milk ant the pizzas too greasy to deliver.

keep your sauce simple - use a good base, like Stanislaus Full Red…you can buy some portioned spice packets or make your own…don’t go too heavy w/the basil, but many like a little garlic “bite” - don’t make your sauce more than 2 days in advance nor less than 24 hrs.

A little Grande in your blend goes a long way to increasing the flavor profile, but again, watch the butter fat content…I like to blend w/3% whole mile mozz - blend in some provolone for a slight smoky flavor…

We had to change our pizza about a year ago, back then we used part skim low moisture mozzarella cheese & Ultimo bagged hot sauce and a pre-mix for the dough. Just remembering how our pizza used to taste gives me shivers. Now, we use whole milk 50/50 blend of mozzarella and provolone cheese. We switched to Stanilaus Soporito Heavy pizza sauce with basil, we add garlic, oregano & parsley to the sauce to give it more flavor. …For the dough, we make it from scratch using olive oil, yeast, etc.

Change the cheese and see if that makes a difference or tweak the sauce by adding more flavor. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another person.

Good luck!

Funny, I’m in your situation as well. You have to figure you’re going to take a hit on sales if you change your name. A lot of people will not order once they call and find out. Hopefully you have kept a customer database so you can at least alert part of your customer base to the change and the improvements you want to make. I’m not so sure it makes sense to insult your current brand as it may only alienate some existing people who will then not want to give your new brand a try. Send out some aggressive offers for them to try. You will have to accept that a lot of people will simply not except the change simply because it is a change and has nothing to do with your food.

So, for now I need to get to a level of sales that I can accept a drop-off and still be alright financially. It a little bit of a pickle right now promoting something I don’t fully believe in, but financial matters dictate sometimes.

I absolutely think its best to go in a different direction if one does not believe in the concept. You will be much more motivated and passionate about something you truly believe in. Its one of the riskiest moves to make – one that requires a lot of for-thought and planning, but in the end I believe you will be more successful and “happy”.

To me, besides being prepared, its just a matter of it being financially feasible.

We’ve always made sauce from scratch . . . 7-11 crushed tomatoes and saporito super heavy with basil. Some water and spices, and WHAMMO. Our really good sauce.

2 cans each crushed pear tomatoes and super heavy sauce with basil
1 can warm water
1 ounce ground pepper
1 ounce granulated garlic
1 ounce dried oregano

I make at least 24 hours ahead whenever possible. It is really good up to four days out. That is my basic recipe that makes a really good sauce. However, I add a little of two ground “pepper” spices little known to the modern pizza world. I won’t give those out, but the above serves me quite well.

I agree get you a can of Stanislaus Full Red, mix a little spices and I thin mine with water, we get compliments ALL THE TIME
also, do look at blending grande cheese (something with provolone REALLY stands out!)
I bet those minor changes will make a WORLD of difference.
one other thought I was going to change over to escalon base, I have a few indys around too.
but I would position myself as we use fresh sauce, not out of a can like our competritors

I am in a similar boat. I wonder if we are in the same franchise. I too am in Michigan

Toarminas? :?:

Gusto and Brandy if you are with Toarminas I would advise you to run, not walk away.

It will be gone or down to just a couple of stores in another few years. I’m told Mr. Toarmina is SET in his ways and is not willing to take advice even from people like Big Dave. Put it this way, I was told that when Big Dave told Mr. Toarmina to make some changes on his menu to help out Mr. Toarmina completely ignored the advice.

I got this from a former franchisee who lost his arse with his store. I understand also that there are only 10 or 11 stores left and half of them are for sale at any given time because no one can make money and corporate does no advertising at all.

Finally my friend (who is thanking his lucky stars every day that he sold his store) told me about another one of the franchisees who is very unhappy spoke to one of the big time marketing experts who told him on the down low to get out of Toarminas and that the expert would even try to help him find a job because the expert felt so sorry for the owner. Not sure if the owner has gotten out yet, I’ll have to call my friend later on and get an update.

So after all that I hope you guys are not with Toarminas


There is pizza hut, little ceasars, bellacinos, and 3 other indys all within 2 miles of me, I know there is business out there to be taken but it seems like no matter how many specials or doorhanging pizza sales still stay the same. Worst yet the newest indy just opened in Dec. and I think he is taken alot of my business. (Moved in across from my old location)

Response. I have been wondering from reading postings on this forum if some geographical areas are simply over saturated with pizza shops. I would think a comprehensive study of the demographics of an area would be in order before investing ones, often life savings and future in an enterprise. It is only logical that at some point if there are so many pizza shops servicing an area that all shops are marginalized.

What appears to happen in many cases is the shops location has been determined by the availability of rental space without regard to demographics or comprehensive consideration of the competitive situation.

I would hope that franchisers give there new operators a great deal of advise in selecting a location but it appears that some do not.

I have no expertise in the field of demographics and cannot offer help. Perhaps someone who frequents this forum has offered solutions if so I would like to review any postings.
George Mills

George Mills

Im not with Toarminas, never heard of it. I am near Grand Rapids on Lake Michigan. The area is a little saturated… Have to deal with it though. Im going to try to play a little with different sauces and cheeses today, but I dont plan on changing my name. I am trying to not make too drastic of a change at once but start working towards where I want it to be. Just a slight change I think would be fairly unnoticed by the regulars but maybe attract a fewothers. I have a drive thru window opening this summer, and trying to perfect my slices, hoping to attract new pizza lovers. I absolutely love pizza though, I just want to love mine so I can feel good about saying that I believe its the best. Thanks for all your replies, am very excited to try something new.

I am with Toarminas.

Kay are you with Palermos? They just kind of merged with Toarminas


Boy do I feel sorry for you. Get out while you can!

No- Ive never heard of those places Im SW of Grand Rapids. Sorry not gonna say name…would love to but I know at least 1 competitor on here. Sometimes I say too much. I put together a basic sauce and played with cheeses. I love a blend with provolone but that taste is so different I dont want to turn away regulars. Maybe just a little blend. But I find the sauce still to bland. Its still better than the old recipe and will taste different tomorrow probably. Looking for that one right spice that will kick it in the but. Does anybody know what I am trying to say if I want the taste to be deeper, or darker, thats the only way I know how to explain it.

blend a can of stanislaus pizza sauce w/basil, a can of crushed or ground tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and a 1/2 can of H20, your spice pack (garlic powder, onion powder, basil, salt, pepper (red &/or black), a cup of olive oil blend and a 1/4 cup of sugar…

watch the amount of dried basil - too much will through off a smell after a few days…play with the amount of garlic…the sugar will sharpen the tomato taste and reduce the burp factor a bit…

the tomato sauce will add extra tomato flavor…

make sure you are using “fresh pack” tomato products

you can also add a splash of basil to your cheese